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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old December 19th, 2008, 09:05 AM   #1
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Your Thoughts on EX1 run and gun ability?

I video weddings and I am looking for a HDV camera that will have the low light ability similar to the pd170. I have read that the autofocus on the EX1 is less than great, so I wanted to know if it is not recomended for run and gun type situations. Im not an expert camera operator but I do know my way around them somewhat.

Just wanted to know your thoughts or recomendations before I jump in and purchase one.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old December 19th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #2
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I'll start by saying that I don't own an EX-1 yet but this question has been asked here, so you should use the search feature.

Before you buy, you might want to rent and try it out for yourself. I'll be doing that after the holidays. It's the only way you'll know for sure. Also the Vortex Media disc is very informative. Essentially, their advice is to not rely on autofocus...ever. It does a good job, but it's not perfect, according to the instructor on the DVD.

The bigger issue may be hand holding it, if that's what you mean by run and gun. Some complain about the ergonomics of the hand grip. Another reason to invest in a rental.

Bob
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Old December 19th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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The other more important thing to consider is how well it converts HD into SD (for DVD). So far I am not having much luck, but it's still early days. I may have to resort to using the Canon XH A1 for SD weddings.

btw. I have the EX3
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:06 AM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
The other more important thing to consider is how well it converts HD into SD (for DVD). So far I am not having much luck, but it's still early days.
Sorry to hear that, Vincent. I also have the EX3 and I'm getting excellent results going from HD to SD (for DVD).

It could be your NLE.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:09 AM   #5
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Jay,

I would appreciate any help or tips you can give.

I am nearly there but not quite, any shots which have a pan involved have a lot of artifacts. I am using Premiere Pro CS3 with Encore CS3.

I love the camera and I am sure I will get there, but it may take a few more permutations.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve Montoto View Post
I wanted to know if it is not recomended for run and gun type situations. Im not an expert camera operator but I do know my way around them somewhat.
I've owned an EX1 since April, shooting a fair amount of Corporate & Conference Candids, which are specifically Run & Gun. I started with PD150s then Z1s. I am sticking to my EX1!

The ergonomics aren't perfect, but you get around them. What works for me is the Hood-pro sock magnifier and an odd Vulcan Nerve Pinch left handed grip round the lens hood, with the right hand wodging the whole affair into the shoulder. Then there's the magnified view for quick checks.

That way, I can keep the lens in manual. This is very important. Don't rely on the autofocus. Ever.

Get to know about 'hyperfocal distance' - a point on your lens at which everything is in focus from a yard to infinity (wide, mid aperture, use the Lens Info scale). Get the sock magnifier so you can SEE when you've got focus. Get used to knowing instinctively which way to tug the lens, and by how much, when your subjects move. Learn to spot the identifiers of sharp focus, know when to zoom in, twiddle, zoom out (of course you've checked your back-focus!).

At its ultimate best, auto focus is handing over control of focus to a trained labrador. Clever, but the brains behind it isn't working for you. I have been handed rushes by EX1 shooters who use Auto Focus, and I'll show you sharp backgrounds and blurry interviewees. T'was ever thus - every camera with auto focus hunts out areas of high contrast and tries to twiddle the focus to see if the transition between light and dark shrinks if you spin one way, and if it gets worse, spins the other way. Once it's done, rinse and repeat, so hence drifting focus.

It's not worth the hassle.

The EX1 has one huge advantage over its brethren - its half inch chip makes DoF shallower, so it's easier to get the shot in focus. That's part of the reason why I ditched the Z1. USE the image magnifier, learn to spot which way to tweak the lens.

You don't NEED auto focus!

Once you're happy with the camera, you won't WANT auto focus. Even for Run & Gun.

But the nurse says I must rest now...
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:15 AM   #7
 
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Vincent, according to your profile you had Premiere 2.0. Glad to hear you've upgraded.

I don't have Premiere Pro, so I'm in no position to be of any real help to you.

Sorry!
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #8
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Don't use autofocus - EVER. It just doesn't work. Too much hunting.
Switch the lens to full manual and turn on peaking.

As for ergonomics, yup, it sucks. I hold the camera by the grip and use my left hand under the body to support it. That works for me.

SD for DVD, I edit in full HD, render the final to HD and pass the HD file to DVD Architect and let it do the downconversion. Seems to work well for me.

Great camera once you get used to it.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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It's works

No problem for run&gun. I like to use it with the manfrotto 560B. On the soil or in the belt for "steadystyle " movement.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #10
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This works great for run and gun. From Cavision.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #11
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Best set up for run and gun on EX-1, in my book, is the DVMultiRig Pro. I have also used the DVRig Junior with a great deal of success.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Run and gun with the EX1 is fine. I've shot concerts, a wedding, and a reality show with it. And like Matt said get used to using manual focus. The Peaking and Expanded Focus features along with the high resolution LCD screen make for relatively easy (compared to other prosumer models) focus.

Using DSLR cameras helps you get in the mindset of "if I or the subject move and I need a closeup the focus must change." I am checking focus probably 3 times a minute when doing run and gun or whenever a "setup" changes and I am not all the way zoomed out.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:20 PM   #13
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I shoot almost all run n' gun. It's hard for me to hold the bare camera steady, but with a "U-Grip" ( Ugrip - Gallery ) handle on the left side it's very steady & easy to manage. I'll use autofocus for "scenery", particularly in bright light, but for any foreground subject (talking head, etc.) manual focus is necessary. By the way, the full manual focus with hard stops is a brilliant feature of the EX. I don't think any other camera in this price range has it
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:08 PM   #14
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The other more important thing to consider is how well it converts HD into SD (for DVD).
I still can't fathom how people lay blame for this on a camera. It has NOTHING to do with a downconversion. That's to whatever tool you use to downconvert. My SD footage is stunning from my EX1.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 11:49 PM   #15
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I still can't fathom how people lay blame for this on a camera. It has NOTHING to do with a downconversion. That's to whatever tool you use to downconvert. My SD footage is stunning from my EX1.
I am not blaming the camera, although I think Sony could have provided better information on how to acheive quality SD footage - for the time being most of my work will still be SD - DVD output. Yes, I know perhaps the Z7 may have been a better choice for this, but the EX3 is my ideal camera, and it will do me for the next 5 or more years.
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